This may sound silly, but there are lots of energy and recovery drinks and someone was bound to test it out. Well, it has been tested, by research scientists no less. Researchers at Granada University in Spain tested 25 students over several months and discovered that a pint of beer is as good or better than water. More on the study here, but basically they found that it hydrates as well or slightly better, the carbonation can quench thirst better, and the carbohydrates help replace calories lost during exercise. OK so if you are trying to lose weight maybe not a good choice as it adds back calories, but if you are working out for strength and conditioning that is a good thing.
Runner’s World magazine even touts some benefits from it, alas they also warn against the alcohol being a diuretic and causing dehydration but beer has far less than other alcoholic beverages, but then this article was over 2 years ago before this man-friendly study was done in Spain.
So in the end its your choice, it can help calm your nerves if competing and does still rehydrate you a little, but the alcohol can also impair your in judgment and recovery. NA beer anyone?